…for better or for worse…

I was so excited to get back into my routine of weekly blogs… but sometimes I forget that I have a brain injury.  Now that’s kinda funny!  When other things come up in life… I forget that the way my brain handles stuff is often a sort of prehistoric method. So one insult to injury… becomes two and two become four…  

Bottom line… it is really tricky for me to hold onto my weekly goal of sending out a blog. Frustrating as that may be, a dear friend reminded me, “You aren’t writing for a cooking show that needs a weekly recipe… this is a blog for injured people… they all get it, right? TBI in the works!”

So… I try to write ahead, get things edited in advance, and schedule the website posts weeks ahead… as if I didn’t have a brain injury. However, I do forget to allow a brain-injury-cushion when life just happens! And in my case, this time, I just had a double eye surgery and thought for sure I had enough posts ready… but yeah… you guessed it… I couldn’t even see well enough to hit ‘post’! So, as my vision slowly comes and goes over the next couple of months, I need to set my sights on the famous words of Mr. Incredible as he responds to his impatient children, “We’ll get there when we get there!”

Fellow TBI friends… remember we are all in this together. I keep thinking this is new territory, but many of you have pioneered this way of life before me and can either totally relate… or are getting a good giggle at my crazy expectations for my post-injury life.

“Love is patient and kind…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Thanks for your patience and kindness with me! I appreciate your comments and likes (my husband and dear editing friend can read… so I have seen some of your notes but am waiting to respond until I can see well enough to do so). BUT, the BEST part about hearing from you is knowing that I am not alone! Remember that you are not alone either, in your invisible illness or injury!

 

P.S. The eye surgery (corneal cross-linking) that I had done has nothing to do with my TBI… to my former colleagues who thought I was overdoing it using colored paper, Sharpies and colored pens… remember this is why! 🙂 However, this eye surgery is a new development in a procedure to help people with a rare eye disease called keratoconus. Here is a video that you should pass along if you know someone with this eye disease…

new FDA approved keratoconus procedure

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake -assisted by M. K. © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part XII… no babies, just maybes

…a continuation of my story from August 23, 2017 … part XI… pregnant??

November 2011

As I boarded the plane to fly halfway across the continent, I looked forward to a week-long seminar that my trainer had worked so hard for a few of us to attend. No babies, so maybe a week independent of family routines, household projects, bills to pay, classroom lesson plans, parent phone calls, testing, etc…. maybe having a week with one central focus would do me good? Maybe this might be a little bonus time for me to figure out what was truly going on with me. Maybe. All I had to do was attend classes all day, do a bit of homework in the evening and relax, right? Maybe I would have enough energy and no nausea and I could even exercise each day? Maybe?!

Day one… the shock of fatigue railroaded me. Day two… I could barely keep my head up at an early dinner with my colleagues. I bowed out before the meal was over and dove directly into bed. Days three and four put me alone for the entire evening after training ended at 4:00. Lying in bed, I struggled to get a snack for dinner and clawed through the homework as if I were dangling off a building holding on by my fingernails.

I really couldn’t understand what was happening to me. My chiropractor insisted that this was part of the residual effects of my concussion. But can a concussion make you feel this way eight months after the initial hit? Can a person truly feel nauseous, fatigued, dizzy and confused off and on for all this time? All the general doctors I had seen for this had only screened me for mood swings… linking these weird symptoms to my concussion only led them to say: “Aren’t you over that concussion yet?”

Well,  that sort of thinking sends a person like me on a path of challenge mixed with spoonfuls of denial! If I am ‘supposed to get over this’ then what is my problem??? I need to buck up and fight. I need to rise above the storm – tackle this head on – overcome this adversity…

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me!   You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.  You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”  

Psalm 139:1-6

Lord, only you know… how can I know?

As I fought my way through the final day of training, an endless day of taxis, planes and a bus… I needed to make a decision if I was going to follow through on next week’s four hour neurological exam. My hope was to cancel it and move past Dr. Jennifer’s noticings. Maybe there was something major wrong with me? Maybe I had cancer? Maybe I was anemic? Maybe that old liver issue had flared back up? Maybe … okay maybe… maybe the concussion did do some lasting damage?

Upon arriving home, all I wanted to do was plant tulips with my daughters and play outside in the extra warm November we had been graced with. But I couldn’t. My pillow was my only warmth and I played and planted in my dreams… another weekend disjointed from my family… missing out on their conversations and not tending to their needs. Survival. That was my only thought… if I can just survive this a little bit longer… maybe then it will go away?

photo-20

 

 

On a delightful note… my daughters planted tulips without me, and as I lay sleeping, they sent me this sweet picture of assurance. The next spring, tulips popped up all over the yard rather than in the gardens… the random placement of these bulbs continues to bring me a giggle and a smile each spring… it’s all going to be okay!

 

 

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

…rare opportunities…

One thing that transpired during my hiatus from this blog, was a rare opportunity to publicly share my summary of this whole ‘concussion adventure’ with my church family. It was a relief to be able to explain myself to those who have watched me go through this… yet maybe not really understand what was happening as I slowly drifted away from church services, Bible classes, social gatherings, volunteering opportunities, etc.  Hey!  I didn’t really know what was happening either… so how could they know?!

In addition, it was a privilege to be able to share God’s goodness in the midst of one of life’s trials. Below, you can read the testimony I gave or watch it read on YouTube….

 

6 ½ years ago, pretty much everything about my core being changed, except my Salvation in Christ.  

On our tiny, local, ski hill …one wrong turn, no helmet, and my own lack of good vision – found me in the ER with a subdural hematoma, otherwise known as concussion or  TBI or traumatic brain injury. If it weren’t for that gift of salvation being the rock in which I stand on and the fortress which shelters me from the storm… this story may have been very faith-less and much shorter. But I stand before the Lord today and proclaim this journey, as a continuous walk of faith…

Many of you knew me before I survived this concussion. Many of you knew me as a very different person pre-February 2011… I did too. This injury has taken me on a 180 degree turn in my life as I knew it for 44 years prior. At first, and often still, I don’t really know how to act as the ‘new-me.’  In fact, I am constantly reverting to the person I was before… but God has had other plans. The most prevalent thread I have noticed along this journey… is His call to be still and know that HE is GOD.”

Psalm 46:10 arrived in my life shortly after the accident …since then it has been proving to me over and over again, just how faithful God is. This stillness stared me in the face as I walked into this injury a very typical woman of our era…

The old-me wanted to excel at my career and possibly invent the next, best reading intervention to save kids from illiteracy. As deacon-at-large, I wanted to help our church be the best in any area I was called to. I wanted to be a mom that didn’t have to go through the terrible twos or the terror of the teen years… because she had it all prayed thru and all figured out. I wanted to be the wife who didn’t grow old, or weathered with injuries or broken down with sadness. I wanted to be the adult daughter who never needed her parents… but they instead would need me.

The new-me… hasn’t invented anything; has served our church just like anyone else; has been a mom who already has scars from both the twos and the teen years and we are only at ages 19 and 15. The new me has been the wife who NEEDS her husband more than He needs her- has more often lost her beauty and has aged twice as fast as normal (a typical TBI symptom); and … I have been the adult daughter who has needed her parents more than ever before.

As caring friends and family have watched this enormous transition in my life… they will kindly say to me:

~I am praying for your healing.

~We trust in the Lord’s healing for you.

~I still believe that you can be healed from this crazy concussion.

Since about year two into this injury… I began to think…

…what if I am healed… but I just don’t recognize it?

…what if His answer …to what healing looks like ….is very different than mine?

…what if I am healed & instead of waiting for the blessing… I am missing it?

Now, please know that I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior, my Redeemer and my Healer.    He CAN DO the impossible…               …but what if… just what if…  my current condition is a healing from my old condition…         the regular old-me??

What if the Lord could see all…?  🙂   and know all…? 🙂 and He could see that my way of life as an injured, concussed-brain person; disabled employee; a more sedentary wife; a calmer mom; a quieter daughter; a backseat volunteer…     were all a better option for HIS GLORY than the old, un-injured me?

What if one day… when I’m in Heaven… He sits me down and says:  “Lisa, Your traumatic brain injury was a gift. I tried to help you see the blessings that could surround it… yet you spent so much time trying to get rid of it… that you missed my blessings within it.”  

“THIS IS the DAY that the LORD has made… let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Doesn’t Psalm 118 say that HE MADE TODAY….???  NO MATTER what it looks like… HE MADE it!  He even made it with ME in mind …and content in it!!  So before the sun rose, on this very day … He knew about this injury and all the struggles that have come with it… And… me, as a sinner in this world who is saved ….by GRACE ALONE…. He knew that If I were to keep my eyes on HIM & lean not on my own understanding… He would make my paths straight… and then this day… today6 years post-concussion today… would get the ‘okay’ stamp of approval from HIM … for ME ….for today!

WOW!  So if I wallow in my condition & suffer all its losses… I just might miss His gift  for me today.

1 Corinthians 7:17 is constantly reminding me… “only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”

What if… just what if… He has called the new-me, brain injury to boot… to no longer do the things that for 44 years before the injury… were me?

  • What if He doesn’t want me to be ambitious about teaching kids & their teachers how to grow in literacy skills?
  • What if He doesn’t want me to attend my daughter’s volleyball games….? Maybe He is opening up a door for my husband to be the primary attendee?
  • What if He prefers our family’s lifestyle working around my husband’s career rather than mine… and that’s why the doctors forced me to quit my job?
  • What if He wants me to need my aging parents … rather than them needing me, as I would prefer?
  • What if He wants me to have time to invest in friendships that had been going un-nourished due to being too busy with my career?
  • What if He wants me to be home and be present for my family rather than working 50+ hours a week; or giving and volunteering elsewhere?

Now… as I list this out… you… just like me.. might be thinking… but those all seem like fairly positive things. In fact, all those ways are ways I want to be and I worked hard to be and I felt blessed to be….

Maybe this new-me…. is a new season in life and the time for that old-me is not what is needed right now? It doesn’t mean that those things were horrible or that they were strictly self-gratifying. Many of the old-me ways did glorify Him.

But what if… the Lord saw… planned… created a NEW way for me to live?  Hey… mid-40’s… most people go thru some sort of mid-life crisis and for sure a career change.  So maybe this is the Lord’s plan for my next ‘career’… being a ‘new-me’… trying to live life 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the old-me?!?!?

Now… just because I have  GREAT hope in how the Lord is healing me… doesn’t mean that tomorrow won’t find me in bed… with nausea, sadness & the walls spinning.  By no means have I escaped an injury that prevents me from being overwhelmed by echoing noises, multiple conversations, bright lights or repetitive motions…. hiding behind sunglasses, a hat and ear plugs… or just plain avoidance therapy by staying home!?!?   Neither does this HOPE in healing mean that my life is my own and that I can joyfully attend a work gathering or a wedding by my husband’s side. Nor does it mean that I will like it when my daughter comes home upset – needing to talk & I am doing everything I can to compassionately listen to her all the while my brain is in “ping-pong” mode. Nor does it mean I will be able to be there for a friend or my parents as they attend a funeral of a lost loved one.

And this HOPE in HIS answer to my healing… doesn’t even mean I will be grateful for it all the time!

However, I do have FAITH that God knows the plans he has for me – “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope.”  I have FAITH that He has created me… and allowed me to be ‘in this Traumatic Brain Injury condition’ in hopes of glorifying Him.

One of my favorite verses comes from Philippians 4… Paul reminds us  “do not be anxious about today… rather with prayer and supplication and ….with THANKSGIVING let Him know my requests.”    I firmly believe this verse is reminding ME to pour out my heart to HIM… not wondering IF HE will heal my brain injury… rather praying in FAITH … in fact with so much FAITH …that I can already start giving THANKS to Him for HEALING my brain injury… before I can even comprehend HIS ANSWER!

So, I move forward in FAITH that God will bless me, my family, and others BECAUSE of this injury/healing.  And I THANK HIM for all He has done and will do with this injury to glorify Him.

I move forward in FAITH that I am healed just the way HE wants me to be healed for now… because He says:  “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made PERFECT in weakness.”

If all of my words were a blur… please just listen to this song… Be Still. Take in its words and enjoy my journey of faith… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWN9xIogFPI

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

…a time for transitions…

As you have probably figured out by now, I haven’t been able to post my weekly Wednesday blog since late August… it seems like the past months have been filled with transitions of one sort or another.

 

 When I left the world of education, I thought my August/September would be my own again… no more 60 hour weeks… with random schedules that accommodate testing, trainings, mentoring, hiring, etc.

However, at the end of this past July…my second year out of the education ring… I once again, asked God, “Do you think I can handle going back to work? I feel pretty good… my symptoms are still there but I am definitely learning to work around them. I have been blessed by sweet tutoring students once again this summer… reminding me of my love for teaching, and the joy of watching their learning grow. Lord, maybe I could handle part-time work, or even volunteer… I know they always need extra help – these 2 months especially. What do you think?”

No sooner had the prayer left my lips and my life became a series of what I call “unexpecteds.”  They have not been bad things… but life has been plenty-full of things that again, humble me to my place of retreat to abate post-concussion symptoms. So… I believe His answer to my July prayer…  has been delivered.

One translation of the Bible reads Psalm 23:1 like this: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  To me, to be in want means I am hungering for what I don’t have (or what I don’t think I have). This correlates so beautifully to Paul’s writings in Philippians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  

What I hear the Lord saying to me is that I am to be content in all things… even if my exact prayer doesn’t seem to be answered; even if it doesn’t seem like what is happening is best for me or my family; even if His answer takes me in the opposite direction. By being in want, I think I miss HIS ANSWER to my prayer because I am so focused on that desire in which I am pleading for – with Him.  Yet, I find His true answer and acceptance thereof, only if I am keeping my communication lines open with Him… at that point… I must ask myself… who am I to doubt His response?  Who am I to doubt the Creator of all things?  The Perfecter of our Faith?  The King of Kings?

So, as my weekly story got so abruptly interrupted… I humbly ask you to be patient with my inability to keep up with life this past August/September… and along with me, accept my answer to prayer that I am where God wants me to be right now… rather than longing for what I don’t think I have.

As I transition back into the groove of writing my story and gathering your stories, please note more upcoming transitions for tripping UP the DOWN escalator (tUtDe) …

  • You can rejoin the ongoing story of my concussion journey in late-October.
  • If you are on Facebook, I will be inviting you to join ‘the tUtDe page’ instead of getting weekly blog updates through my personal FB account.
  • I am going to attempt adding Twitter and possibly Instagram to my world… aaahhh! Maybe?!
  • Our ‘on the lighter side’ section that was projected to debut in July will hopefully be accessible by the end of the year (between technology, life events and reality… it just takes soooo much time!).

Thanks much for your continued interest in our website and blog! PLEASE remember this can be a tool for those suffering from any Invisible Illness and/or Injury… please connect those who are in need of support to our resources within this site.  Please also remember that we are always gathering your personal stories to be able to reach out to others. Here are some current story topics that are in the works:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Miscarriage
  • Lyme Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chiari Malformation

I hope to begin featuring these topics, and more, in the spring.

Do you know someone suffering from an Invisible Illness or Injury??  Encourage him to WRITE his story and submit it. It is good therapy for the writer and great support for our readers!

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part XI… pregnant??

September 2011:
Two months back at work and strange things started to happen. Around noon each Thursday I would get super nauseated, beyond tired, often needing to go home sick – sometimes having to spend the next 3 days in bed. Work had begun to make me ridiculously tired – my Tuesday nights began to feel suspiciously similar to Friday nights after a 60 hour week. And then the nausea became more frequent.

PregnantSEMD

Lucie ~ 1998

I took a pregnancy test… because I most definitely had experienced these symptoms twice before in my life!
There is absolutely no way I’m pregnant. I’m 44 years old – I’m pretty sure I’m pre-menopausal for crying out loud! Well it can’t be, I mean, my tubes were tied right after Zella was born. And not just tied, but tied in double knots (if Eddie was finally able to convince the doctor to do it). It’s just not possible, is it? But they say God does have a sense of humor? So…?
Results in. Nope. Not pregnant. Great! But what’s with the pregnant-like symptoms? Hmmm…?
October:
By now my weeks had settled into a consistent pattern:
Monday – exhausted. In bed early.
Tuesday – super exhausted. In bed super early.
Wednesday – whatever’s worse than super exhausted. In bed instantly upon arriving home, then up again and off to church for Wednesday night activities.
Thursday – a little dizzy in the morning… kinda like day 1 concussion back in March… but not that bad… then by noon my body would just sort of shut down. Nausea, Vertigo, Fatigue and Confusion… the Fab Four, all at the same time.
Friday thru Sunday – sick. In and out of bed.

 

PregnantZRD

Lydia ~ 2002

I decided to take pregnancy test #2.  What was that Sherlock Holmes quote… “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains…” something like that?   Yup… I’ll take the home pregnancy test again, just to eliminate that impossibility once and for all.
Results in. Nope. Definitely not pregnant, and definitely at a loss as to what was making me feel this way.

 

Early November:
Sick and tired and desperate for some kind of answer, I took pregnancy test #3.
Oh what the heck. I’ve been taking pregnancy tests for almost three months now, what’s the harm in another? It’s silly. I know that. By this time, if I was actually pregnant (which of course I could not be) I would have had plenty of other evidence of it. But if I’m not pregnant, why do I keep feeling pregnant?
Results in. I’m not pregnant. Of course not. Yay? I guess..?
But my symptoms were getting worse and work was becoming more difficult. And it seemed that I still wasn’t any closer to finding a reason for them. It was getting harder and harder to just shrug the nausea and fatigue off. After finally ruling out pregnancy, and after doctor visits that ruled out any sickness that might have been causing me to feel that way, my thoughts began to turn back to my concussion. Yet all of the doctors had cleared me, hadn’t they? They had shined lights in my eyes and had me follow their fingers multiple times and told me “You’re good to go. Time to get back in the saddle and leave that brain injury behind you. Go get ‘em tiger!” or something to that effect, which was certainly exactly what I wanted to hear.

 

Actually, it wasn’t all of the doctors that said that. Dr Jennifer, my reliable and knowledgeable chiropractor, hadn’t truly given me the green light to resume my life. I had started going to her on a monthly basis about 5 years prior to my head injury, so she knew me very well. After my accident, when I saw her on my previously scheduled appointments, she started asking me entirely different questions than the other doctors had. She noticed subtle differences in me that neither I nor anyone else had noticed. For example, at my very first visit after the concussion, she asked me if I’d noticed that my speech had slowed. She had an insight into my concussion that was so far beyond my grasp… that I kinda didn’t pay attention to her. When I told her of my failed pregnancy tests and the symptoms that prompted me to take them … and I laughed at how silly I’d been, she didn’t laugh. She looked concerned and quickly ordered a thorough exam of neurological testing in Minneapolis.


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:17

In hindsight, I was “sort of” pregnant at that point. Not realizing it at the time, I was awkwardly in the process of unknowingly giving birth to a new era in my life. And like it slowly tipped my world upside down when I had my babies, my life was changing dramatically. As time went on, it was only in him that I was holding together.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part X… clueless

The blessing of not selling our home to go bigger and better, was 6 years from being fully realized. As I look back on many phases and decisions in my life, I am frequently reminded of blessings that, at the time, seemed like regular old occurrences. When the Lord tells us, “…He will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6) He truly means it. His ability to patiently bless us beyond our present vision… frankly… astounds me.

By the end of March, I ‘passed’ a follow-up MRI with flying colors. So, per the doctor’s orders, all systems were set on “go” to continue my life as it was, pre-injury.

Lucie’s 13th birthday party welcomed in April. We successfully surprised her and let her and her friends stay up ALL night (a persistent request of hers since age 9). It was a great party with nonsense and noise and even a dance party in our garage with me instigating new and crazy moves to the increasingly louder music.

That was Thursday of Easter weekend. By the time Monday rolled around, I found myself unusually tired and having periods of 3-4 hours/day of blurred vision. Very strange.

Shortly after that, it began to occur to me that attending our church services nearly made me pass out. When I sang I got light-headed. Weird. I wondered why and quit singing.

The next Sunday, halfway through the service, it dawned on me that I had just about no idea what our pastor had been preaching about. Instead of concentrating on the teaching from the pulpit (something I looked forward to every week), my eyes wandered all over the place, taking my brain with them. Zero focus. Just random thoughts about whatever and whomever my eyes landed on:

  • “When did the church get ceiling fans? It’s not hot today. Why are they on and why are they spinning so fast?
  • “Oh, there’s Colleen, I need to ask her about getting the kids together on Saturday.
  • “Is that Lani? Is Rich with her? I have to remember to ask them if they can sub for us next week and lead our Bible study.
  • “Why don’t they turn Fred’s mic down. It’s so loud.
  • “Sara’s got a new haircut. Very cute. What did I need to tell her? Oh, that’s right. I can’t bring Gabe to AWANA Wednesday night, can she?
  • “When did we get all of these ceiling fans!?
  • “There are the Pedersons. Shoot! … I was supposed to bring our girls’ outgrown snowpants for their kids”.

When church ended and I’d talked to the people I remembered to talk to after the service, I would find myself in a surreal sort of daze, wandering to the car. After arriving back home, I went straight to bed for the rest of the day due to sudden and extreme fatigue and nausea, clueless as to the cause.

  • At school (my workplace), I found myself making odd new requests of my students: “Kids, while I read this story, could you do your best to sit super still?”
    • “Why, Mrs. Drake?”
  • “Well, today I feel a little bit like I’m on a boat all the time, and when you move, it’s like the water moves.”
    • “Oh, we understand that, Mrs. Drake! One time when I was fishing…”
    • “My mom and dad said they felt like that on a plane one time…”
    • “My grandpa took me canoeing when it was windy once and…”
    • Etc…. 

(One of the things I love most about children is their willingness to accept you as you are when you are open and honest with them. It’s like one, big, compassionate and endless hug. I miss those hugs).

It was while I was at work, busy writing reports, emails and other notes for the adult literacy coaching portion of my day, that I discovered that I’d begun to frequently leave off the last letters of the words I was writing. Often entire words were missing. Also very weird.

In early May, after an all-school assembly, I found myself feeling like I was floating. A week later at another assembly, I could feel a wave of nausea slowly creep from my stomach to my head, followed by a feeling guilt for having to ask my colleague, Sue, to take over my class of 28 kids in addition to her 29 while I rushed out the nearest exit to throw-up. Both occasions left me feeling dizzy, unable to function, in need of a driver to get me home, and in need of 24 hours in bed to recover… with me still clueless as to why.

I found myself in a variety of similarly bizarre situations throughout the remainder of the year. As the 2010-11 school year came to a close I was exhausted and perplexed and looking forward to the relief of summer break more than I ever had before. And thanks to the combined efforts of my mom and my hubby, it was actually going to be a summer off, with none of the usual teacher training seminars and tutoring that I typically filled my “time off” with.

My only summer commitment was a no-pressure, fun commitment. Lucie, Lydia and I all tried out for parts at the local community college’s production of Annie.  And to one degree or another (little Lydia was a stage hand) we all got parts!  Lucie had a growing interest in acting and I thought it might be a great stress reliever for me, so why not? What better way to keep my body and brain active and be a kid alongside my girls?

Funny though, with a cast of about 25, it soon became obvious that I was the one getting yelled at most often by the director… even more than the 15 rambunctious kids playing the parts of the naughty New York orphans! Why? What did he have against me?

One day at practice, Lucie figured it out and came gently to my rescue. It seemed that I was not following the script. I knew my lines but I did not know when and where to deliver them … which was odd, because all my life I have been blessed with a deadbolt lock on my ability to hold things into memory and retrieve them as needed. Now, (this increasingly unrecognizable NOW) though my memory seemed fairly normal, the retrieval process was becoming an obvious mess.

Lucie, Lydia and I proceeded to make four maps and posted them at my four different stage entry points. Each map had explicit instructions – for me alone – as to when, where and what I was responsible for. The director’s voice no longer rang in my ears.

At the end of July the play was over. I felt that the past months’ experiences had left me refreshed and recharged and ready for the 2011-12 school year. On August 1st the lights turned green and my school year began. As usual, it was 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds – engine screaming and tires smoking.

I felt good. I felt in control again. All went so well at the beginning that I felt like the old me. Lisa Drake was back! I was confident and moving forward fast as a 50% classroom literacy teacher and 50% literacy coach for teachers. The strange symptoms that came with singing or shouting or talking and laughing with friends; the symptoms that came with listening to the wonderful sounds of a classroom; all of those stormy, seasick symptoms… they all seemed to subside. Whatever all those weird reactions to normal, everyday things were, they must have all been just ‘in my head’.

I was ready to roll…

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part IX… selling our home

Saturday morning, about 4 weeks post-injury, we were finally ready to get the house on the market. Ironically, I woke up with thoughts contrary to that well prepped plan. I said to Eddie, “I need to tell you something. You probably won’t want to hear it… but the Lord has been pressing it on my heart all week and I cannot move forward with the realtor’s pictures today until I get this burden off my mind.”

Blessing #5… a burning bush.

Ed had already been awake and had begun straightening up the house for the website photos that were going to be taken in 4 hours. He came back to bed. “What?” Normally when I deter him from a project it comes with a huff, a sigh and an attitude of frustration that I am interrupting his diligent task. But this time, he was very patient. Very peaceful. Hmmm…

ourhome“Ed, I know what I am about to say is going to be polar opposite of all that we have been working towards and dreaming of for the past 10 years, but I don’t think we should sell the house right now. In fact, I think we shouldn’t sell at all. Possibly ever.”

He just stared at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I had the same thought this week! It’s not that I’m afraid to sell… heck, I’ve moved dozens of times in my life. In fact, we’ve never really even liked this house’s style, layout, size, etc… it was just an easy flip… so we really should stick with the plan to sell this and buy our last home, our dream home. But I feel so strongly about what the Lord has laid on my heart… well… it’s so bizarre… I almost feel as if I have seen a burning bush?!”

“Eddie, it must be of the Lord! This was not even on the menu of options for either of us… tell me more about what He has shown you this past week.”

“Well… I’m not really sure why we shouldn’t sell. In fact, I cannot even justify it in my head. But the Lord has laid it so heavily on my heart that I cannot move forward to sell this house. All morning when I have been prepping, I have felt completely wrong about it. This is amazing!  He has been talking to us both separately… but the same. What has the Lord shown you?”

As he looked at me, I knew there was one more remnant from the Lord’s pressing that I had yet to share with him. “Well…” This next part had me a bit scared as it was an old topic that had been tabled years ago… with the last conversation not being a very pleasant one. “For the first couple days this week, when I felt His leading, I had no words for ‘why’ He doesn’t want us to sell. Then as I continued to pray and chat with Him… I heard Him say… ‘don’t sell the house – pare down your expenses so that you can afford to homeschool the girls.’  I know this is a closed topic that we gave up on years ago… but because your job is now flexible and my job isn’t but it provides other family needs… what if you worked part-time – homeschooled the girls until noon-ish – they could do follow-up work on their own – and then you could go to work in the afternoon? That’s not set in stone… but if we remain in this house… we could afford for you to go part-time. And we could, most likely, afford the costs of home schooling?”

He looked shocked. “That’s a lot of information all at once, Lisa! Where did you come up with all that in a week?”

“Honestly, it all came out of left-field. And I am sorry to tell you all that… all at once… today… hours before we sign papers… but I feel so strongly convicted about it that it would be a mistake to not share it with you.”

“Okay… let’s pray… now.”

Remember the ‘thanksgiving’ emphasis I shared in part VII?  “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   (Philippians 4:6)  Thankfully, right then and there, God stopped the sale of our little, affordable home… so that He was able to provide Bible-based schooling for our girls; quality time between father and daughters; more concentrated family time through rough waters ahead; and 5 years later… He was able to continue to provide a roof over our heads when I had to give up my career due to the lasting effects of my TBI… a financial hit that a larger, ‘better’ home would not have sustained.

Blessing #6… we didn’t sell the house.

So, very slowly, I am learning to pray through a situation with thanksgiving for the coming blessings that the Lord will provide through whatever difficulty I am currently facing.

When I pray only for Him to lessen my anxiety, my focus tends to be on me and how I am handling the situation.

When I pray with thanksgiving, my focus is most definitely on how God will be handling the situation. Then thanking Him, often in advance, for caring for and solving my crisis in His wayin His timing… with His answer… leads me to more faithfully following His sovereign and divine plan.

Blessing #7… we are able to home school the girls.

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